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Love it or hate it, opera is always a great topic to write about - whether as backdrop to romantic and ironic fiction, or as a seething cauldron of ideas for warring experts. Operatic history is t just 400 years of masterpieces; it's the seeds great composers sowed - for performances worth watching, and singers worth hearing - and it can be heaven, or plain hell. The finest writers about opera here are an Olympic roll-call: from Rousseau to Brecht, from Proust to George Eliot, from Berlioz to Debussy.
Tom Sutcliffe's musical career started as a boy chorister at Chichester Cathedral. After studying at Oxford University, he was a professional countertenor for six years, making his opera debut in The Coronation of Poppea at Darmstadt in 1970, having worked as a soloist with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He then edited the magazine Music and Musicians, and worked for the Guardian for 23 years - most notably as opera critic.$$$A regular broadcaster on radio and television, he has also written about opera in Vogue magazine and was British correspondent of Opera News, New York, as well as contributing to Opera Now and other specialist music journals. In 1998 he was dramaturg on a new production of The Turn of the Screw at the Monnaie in Brussels. He became opera critic of the Evening Standard in 1996.